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NEWS RELEASE · 21st May 2011
Ministry of Health
Amendments to the Medicare Protection Act were introduced today in the B.C. legislature to support the introduction of a more secure card, designed to improve patient safety and reduce fraud.

The new card, which would replace the current Care Card, will offer more security benefits than a current driver's licence, including a photograph of the beneficiary, anti-forgery features, high-level identity proofing - as well as a security chip. People can choose to have the new card, or to have their driver's licence indicate they are enrolled in the Medical Services Plan.

The current plastic BC CareCard was introduced in 1989 with no significant changes over the last 20 years. Proof of identity is critical in assisting doctors and other health-care providers determine the most appropriate treatment for patients and ensuring the right care is delivered to the right person. In addition, there is concern across government and other sectors about the potential for misuse and fraud, especially as the BC CareCard is considered an acceptable form of government-issued identity. Today, there are about 9.1 million BC CareCards in circulation for a population of about 4.5 million people.

Unlike the current approach, the new card will require re-enrolment on a regular basis that will help to ensure that only those entitled to valuable publicly funded health-care services receive them. Enrolment and re-enrolment are required to maintain beneficiary status for health-care benefits.

When patients access care in hospitals or the community, they are asked to produce a valid BC CareCard. People who fail to re-enrol will not be eligible for publicly paid health services hospital services, as they will no longer be beneficiaries of the Medical Services Plan. They could also lose subsidized coverage for services such as ambulance service and Fair PharmaCare. However, individuals will never be denied essential medical care in real emergency situations even if they fail to re-enrol or do not have a card. Re-enrolment will be straightforward and, where possible, aligned with the date for renewal of an individual's driver's
licence.

No person under the age of 19 will be asked to re-enrol. Certain groups of adults, such as the elderly or marginalized populations - for whom re-enrolling would be impractical or present a hardship - will also be exempted or managed through special arrangements.

Drivers will be able to re-enrol when they renew their driver's licence. Obligations to renew enrolment will be set every five years at the same time driver's licences expire. Non-drivers will have a similar cycle. This will allow for a phased-in approach. When a person successfully re-enrols, they will be issued a new secure card.

Once the legislative amendments are passed, government will develop regulations to support the new enrolment process and launch of the card.

Full implementation of the new card is expected to be phased in over five years beginning before the end of 2012.
never fly
Comment by Steve Smyth on 25th May 2011
What? personal responsibility? Sorr RP, that will never fly in this day and age.

I had the occasion to require a visit to the ER the other day, while waiting an hour for some tests, I was amazed by the numer of people who came through the emergency room door with a cough, a fever or some trivial matter..

The nurse pleasantly asked each and every one of them "if they had been to the clinic or to see a Doctor" tyhe answer was variously no " its too far, no, we were busy all day, no-thats why i came here, no, i didnt want to" It must have happened 7 times in an hour. I asked the ER nurse and she said that was SOP for a weeknight, worse on the weekend.
I'd be happy to pay a 10 or 20$ hospital fee in order to have access to this valuable resource when its really needed. Now naturally, some people cant or wont pay this reasonable fee and there could be plans to cover it off some other way but again, im thinking thats personal responsibility, which is obsolete.

We really dont have a clue in this country how much medical care really costs and fritter it away like a god given right instead of a tax supported privilege. Once youve been in a US hospital, it makes you very appreciative of what we have and more so, what it really costs us to maintain it.
Health care?
Comment by Rp on 25th May 2011
The problem is that it is not health care, but crisis care. We simply go from one crisis to the next. If they wish to make it health care, then the msp premiums should reflect the health of the person. If you are obese and not doing anything about it your premiums should be hire as you are at a higher risk of illness and will use the health care system more than a person who stays fit.

Call it a fat tax, I do not care, I just think it is unfair that my premiums are the same of higher than some slob who's idea of exercise is lumbering from the couch to the fridge and back.
No extra charge?
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 23rd May 2011
That does not mean they could not increase MSP premiums a little to cover the extra cost and still claim there is no "extra" fee. The MSP premium increase would be "inflationary pressure".
response to Richard
Comment by Linda on 23rd May 2011
Hi Richard, it failed to note it in this article, but in another article it stated the following

"De Jong said there will be no extra charge for the new card, whether it is separate or included on a driver's licence renewal"

I felt exactly as you did before I found the other article. BC'ers are being squeezed to death financially, and even reading this I am unsure we will get 0ut of paying some sort of fee.

that`s perfect
Comment by richard on 22nd May 2011
past the cost down to all of us with licencing every five years. another revenue to extract another 75 $ ,every five years.they just keep passing the buck .like a hidden tax for heath care. Just Great. What`s Next. I`m sure theres more coming.spin doctors ,hard at work. this goverment is doing every thing possible to Squeeze every dollar out of the consumers pockets,rather than taxing the corperations fairly,they`ll just shift it over to the family`s of this province. every,clearly thought out scam again.